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Media Advisory

Monday, February 14, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Southwest Florida's Top Stem Students to be Honored in Orlando

Southwest Florida’s highest achieving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students will join their peers from around the state Thursday and Friday in Orlando to be honored during the newly revamped Sunshine State Scholars program. The two-day awards and recruitment event celebrates the accomplishments of these elite students and provides a unique opportunity for Florida’s universities and colleges to recruit their talents.

The Scholars event started as a simple science and math competition in 1997 and has evolved into a program designed to recognize Florida’s top high school STEM students and recruit them to pursue their post secondary education in Florida – increasing the likelihood that they will join Florida’s future workforce. Each school district selects and names one 11th grade scholar based on established criteria.

The program will begin on Thursday evening with a welcome reception keynoted by Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith and Stacy Carlson of the Helios Education Foundation. The event continues on Friday with a breakfast headlined by Dr. Will Holcombe, Chancellor of the Florida College System, and Frank Brogan, Chancellor of the State University System. The recruitment fair will follow where students can talk directly with higher education officials from more than 25 Florida public colleges and universities to explore the opportunities that could await them in a Florida postsecondary institution. The event will conclude with an awards luncheon where scholars will be treated to a speech by Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative, after which students can enjoy their free passes to Universal Orlando Resort.

The event will take place at:
Doubletree Hotel at Entrance to Universal Orlando
5780 Major Blvd

Thursday, Feb. 17
Welcome Reception
6:00 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 18
8:00 a.m
Recruitment Fair
9:00 a.m.
Awards Luncheon
12:00 p.m.

The Sunshine State Scholars program is a collaborative effort between the Florida Education Foundation, the Division of Florida Colleges, the State University System and the Florida Department of Education. Event sponsors of this year’s program include the Helios Education Foundation, Universal Orlando Resort, Gulf Power, Florida Trend Magazine, and the Florida Lottery.

A list of the Sunshine State Scholars from Southwest Florida is below.

Southwest Florida
District Student School
Citrus Devon Harvey Lecanto High
Charlotte Clifford E. Rice III Charlotte High
Collier Daniel DiGiorno Naples High
DeSoto Nathan Schwan DeSoto County High
Glades Warner Ward Moore Haven High
Hardee Brittany Dunlap Hardee Senior High
Hendry Andrew McAvoy LaBelle High
Hernando Jenny Ho Central High
Highlands Thomas Smith Sebring High
Hillsborough Claire Bergman Durant High
Lee Shelly Hassett North Fort Myers High
Manatee Justin Suca Southeast High
Pasco Xianlu Wang Land O’ Lakes High
Pinellas Eric Tong St. Petersburg High
Polk Bianca Mulaney Bartow High IB
Sarasota Alex Pinchin Booker High
Sumter Alex Keeler South Sumter High